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Mercy College’s Death/Dying Expert Denounces Sandy Hook Tapes Release

Robert Stevenson
Robert Stevenson Photo Credit: Courtesy Mercy College

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Robert Stevenson, associate professor of Mental Health Counseling at Mercy College, said he understands the release of the Sandy Hook 911 tapes, but added that it was "the wrong thing to do on many levels."

Stevenson, a death and dying expert, said he understood the need from the media to release the tapes. But he said it is likely to cause more pain than give closure to those listening, according to a release from Mercy College.

“While police and 9-1-1 specialists might be able to learn from these tapes, releasing them to the general public only has the potential to cause more pain.” Stevenson said.

Stevenson explained that in his experience the tapes could aggravate the fear and anxiety of parents that was amplified by the tragedy.

“This victimizes them yet again," Stevenson said of the families of Netown. "As they try to move on with their grief and to re-establish some control of their lives, they are shown through the release of the tapes that their opinions and wishes do not matter. This can reinforce their feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.”

Stevenson said he is now exploring why the tapes were released.

“If I could be shown one real positive to come out of this move, I would reconsider my point of view," he said. "However, I do not believe a positive reason exists. I would hope that those who brought this lawsuit and secured the right to play these tapes for the public would show the same restraint and not exercise that right to help those who could be seriously traumatized by doing what they have secured the right to do.”

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